A Gantt chart is a graphical representation of the duration of activities against the progression of time and is a particular type of Bar Chart though used as a synonym for bar charts in general.
The ability to communicate is a definitive prerequisite for successful management of a project. Graphical displays such as gantt-charts usually make the information easy to identify; and thus are the prime means for tracking cost, schedule and performance.
Gantt-chart, being the most common type of display, is named after Henry Gantt, who first utilized this procedure in the early 1900s. The gantt-chart (or the bar chart) is a mean of displaying simple activities or events plotted against time. An activity represents the amount of work required to proceed from one point to another. Events are described as either the starting or ending point for either one or several activities.
Gantt charts are most commonly used for exhibiting program progress or defining specific work required to accomplish an objective. They often include such items as listing of activities, activity duration, schedule dates, and progress-to-date.
Gantt-charts are advantageous in that they are simple to understand and easy to change. They are the least complex means of portraying progress (or lack of it) and can easily be expanded to identify specific elements that may be either behind or ahead of schedule.
The benefits for project management, that gantt-charts can result in, include:
- Cutting project cost and reducing the time scale
- Coordinating and expediting planning
- Eliminating idle time
- Obtaining better scheduling and control for subcontractor activities
- Developing better troubleshooting procedures
- Cutting time for routine decisions, but allowing more time for decision making